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Ken Jennings

writer, trivia expert

Ken Jennings was born in 1974 just outside Seattle, Washington, but grew up overseas. His family spent fifteen years in Korea and Singapore, where his father worked as an attorney. His only lifeline to American pop culture during those years was TV on the Armed Forces Network, where he watched *Jeopardy!* religiously after school every afternoon. He moved back to the States to attend the University of Washington for a year, and after putting school on hold for a two-year Mormon mission in Madrid, Spain, transferred to Brigham Young University in 1996. At BYU, he double-majored in English and computer science, and graduated in 2000. Ken was working as a software engineer for a Salt Lake City health care staffing company in 2004 when he got the phone call telling him that his contestant audition had been successful and he would appear on a June game of *Jeopardy!* Much to his surprise, Ken's *Jeopardy!* appearance extended beyond a single game in June: he took advantage of a recent rule change allowing Jeopardy! champs to appear on the show indefinitely, and spent the next six months hogging America's TV screens. Before losing on the November 30 show because he didn't know enough trivia about H&R Block, Ken won 74 games and $2.52 million, both American game show records. Following his Jeopardy! streak, Ken's product endorsements have included FedEx, Microsoft Encarta, Allstate, Cingular, and even his onetime nemesis H&R Block. He speaks about the importance of learning at college campuses and corporate events, and has co-invented two trivia games: the *Can You Beat Ken?* board game from University Games, and *Quizzology*, a CD trivia game from Major Games. Ken's 2006 book *Brainiac*, about his bizarre *Jeopardy!* adventures and about the phenomenon of trivia in American culture, was a national bestseller. His latest book is *Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac*.